Best vlogging camera: The best compact, mirrorless and action cameras for YouTube, Snapchat or Instagram vlogging

Best vlogging camera: The best compact, mirrorless and action cameras for YouTube, Snapchat or Instagram vlogging

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Whether your goal is to be the next big social media superstar, or you simply want to carve a niche out for yourself in your very own blog, having the right camera will make shooting your own vlogs much easier, and much more enjoyable.

The good news is that you don’t need to splash out on the most expensive kit to produce professional-looking content. While some cameras will set you back a fair bit, you may be surprised at how affordable some of the best vlogging cameras – even those that are able to shoot in 4K. But choosing the right vlogging camera will depend largely on the kind of videos you’re planning to shoot. If you’ll mostly be filming beauty tutorials at home, you’ll have different needs to someone who wants to vlog their travel adventures in extreme climates. 

Check out our buying guide below to see what features will be best for you. Or, if you already know what you’re looking for, you can skip straight to our round-up of the best vlogging cameras money can buy.

READ NEXT: The best compact, CSC and digital SLR cameras 

How to choose the best camera for vlogging

What video resolution is best?

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to upgrade your existing vlogging setup, these are the key features to consider when looking for a new vlogging camera. Most cameras – and certainly all the cameras on this list – can shoot video at “Full HD” (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. That provides a huge amount of detail, but if you’re serious about videography you may be tempted to choose a camera capable of the much higher 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution. However, 4K footage takes longer to render, and will require a more powerful computer to edit. And the truth is, if your viewers are going to be watching on phones or laptops, the extra pixels are very unlikely to make a noticeable difference. Unless you’re a professional, it’s normally better to stick with 1080p.

Is size and weight important?

If you’re planning to shoot active vlogs that involve carrying your camera around with you, portability is very important. Lugging a bulky camera around with you is a chore, whereas you can keep a lightweight model on you at all times, to be sure you don’t miss out on the money shot. Luckily, there are many pocket-sized compact cameras that shoot DSLR-quality videos and are perfect for vlogging on the go. Obviously this is less of an issue if you’ll mostly be shooting with a tripod, or filming at home.

What is Optical Image Stabilisation and do I need it?

Optical image stabilisation lets a camera automatically reduce the effect of shaky hands and other unwanted movements. Without it, your vlogs could look jittery and unprofessional. Editing can help remove some of the shakiness that will happen when vlogging, but if you can keep your footage as smooth as possible in the first place, life is a whole lot easier; it’s worth spending a little more to buy a camera that comes with stabilisation built in.

Is audio quality important?

Even if you want to use music in your videos, most vlogs feature at least a small amount of talking – and many feature nothing but the vlogger speaking to the camera. If the sound captured by your camera sounds harsh and boxy, there’s almost nothing you can do to fix it, so choosing a model with a good in-built microphone is crucial. For the best sound possible, choose a camera with an external mic port and connect a separate high-quality microphone.

What other features should I look out for?

On top of the essential features you’ll need in a vlogging camera, there are a few useful extras you might want to consider. Many vloggers like to have a flip-out screen so they can see what they’re recording and check they look good on camera. If you’ll be recording outdoors for long periods of time, choosing a camera with a removable battery will mean you can carry spares, so you always have enough juice to keep on shooting.

The best vlogging cameras to buy

1. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II: Best all-round vlogging camera

Price when reviewed: £530

The G7 X isn’t the lightest camera around, and the lens is a little on the chunky side. Overall, though, it’s still comfortable to carry around in your hand or pocket. If you’re going to be vlogging your travels or day-to-day life, you won’t find a smaller camera that can deliver such professional quality video.

That great-looking footage is partly thanks to the G7 X’s excellent autofocus: it’s fast. reliable and easy to adjust via the touchscreen when you want to change subject. The camera is also particularly good for shooting in low light, with less noise than other similarly priced cameras, thanks to its wide f/1.8-2.8 lens. The only disappointment is the lack of an external mic port; the in-built microphone is by no means terrible, but it’s worth investing in a wind muff if you’re shooting outdoors.

Key specs – Recording quality: 1080p; Weight: 319g; Image resolution: 20.1MP; Flip screen: Yes; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes.

Click here to read our full review of the Canon G7 X Mark II

2. Sony Alpha a6000: Best vlogging camera with interchangeable lenses

Price when reviewed: £519 with SELP 1650 lens kit

Sony A6000

The a6000 is bulkier than other cameras on this list, and not quite small enough to slip into a pocket, but it offers a lot of visual versatility thanks to its support for interchangeable lenses. Its lack of in-built stabilisation is easily rectified with the right choice of lens, and its lightning-fast autofocus is superior to that of any other camera in this price range, really setting the a6000 apart as a top camera for vlogging.

Although the a6000 comes with a tilting screen, it won’t fold all the way round like other cameras on this list, so you can’t use it to monitor yourself as you record. If that’s not a problem for you then the a6000 is hard to beat.

Key specs – Recording quality: 1080p; Weight: 285g; Image quality: 24.3MP; Flip screen: Yes; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes.

Click here to read our full review of the Sony a6000

3. GoPro HERO5 Black: Best vlogging camera for action and adventure

Price when reviewed: £329

You’re probably familiar with the GoPro brand, and for good reason: the company’s superb action cameras get better with every update. Despite its tiny palm-sized frame and relatively small price tag, the HERO5 is possibly the most versatile camera around. Not only can it record in 4K, film underwater and shoot time lapse, it can be expanded with a huge range of accessories, allowing you to film in pretty much any situation and edit the footage directly on your phone. Our only caveat is that some of cases and accessories can dampen the sound quality.

Some vloggers use a GoPro camera alongside a larger primary vlogging camera, but if you’re happy to forgo the flip out screen and keep it simple, the GoPro is all you’ll ever need to shoot high-quality vlogs and other videos. That’s great, because it’s small and light enough to keep in a backpack or pocket, and can be quickly pulled out to discreetly capture high-quality video whenever and wherever the mood takes you.

Key specs – Recording quality: 4K; Weight: 118g; Image quality: 12MP; Flip screen: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes.

Click here to read our full review of the GoPro HERO5 Black 

4. Olympus PEN E-PL7: Best for all-in-one blogging and vlogging

Price when reviewed: £450 with 14-42mm lens kit

The Olympus PEN is often dubbed the “blogger camera”, and it’s easy to see why. Everything about this portable, lightweight camera is geared up for social-media creation, including videos and vlogs. The E-PL7 is one of the newest PEN models, and it has a number of winning features, including a flip-out touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi and a choice of three stylish colourways.

Aesthetics aside, the E-PL7 works brilliantly for vlogging. The standard 14-42mm lens delivers great-looking video, but is also changeable to give you maximum versatility. There’s an in-camera app for easy video editing and uploading – and you can even add music, so it’s perfect for sharing quick vlogs on the go. It also comes with built-in image stabilisation, so it’s everything you need to get your vlogging career off to a great start.

Key specs – Recording quality: 1080p; Weight: 400g; Image quality: 16MP; Flip screen: Yes; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes.

Click here to read our full review of the Olympus PEN E-PL7

5. Panasonic Lumix GH5: Best for professional-looking videos – if you can afford it

Price when reviewed: £1,699 (body only)

If you want to shoot professional-grade video, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 should be at the top of your list. At £1,699 it’s certainly not cheap, but serious vloggers will love how much this camera has to offer. As well as shooting 4K footage at 60 frames per second, this mirrorless micro-four thirds camera can record 1080p at up to 180 frames per second. It uses a super high-resolution 3,680k-dot OLED live viewfinder for perfect framing in all light conditions, and has two SD card slots, so you can shoot for twice as long, or keep a second copy of your raw footage for safety. It’s also splash-, dust- and freeze-proof – something that’s hard to come by on high-end cameras.

The quality of still images isn’t so strong: if that matters to you then you might want to look elsewhere. But the GH5 excels at video and outperforms similarly priced alternatives by a long shot, making it one of the best cameras available for vloggers.

Key specs – Recording quality: 4K; Weight: 645g; Image quality: 20.3MP; Flip screen: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes.

Click here to read our full review on the Panasonic Lumix GH5

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